Match Preview: Scotland v Italy
Scotland host Italy at BT Murrayfield in Round 5 of the Guinness Six Nations this Saturday (kick-off 2.15pm GMT).
Jamie Ritchie on Saturday's match against Italy:
"This game is a huge opportunity for us to show what we are about and concentrate on ourselves.
"With it being a short turnaround it means we've not got as much time to prepare for what they're coming with, but we've got our foundations in place to build on and that's going to be the most important thing come the weekend.
"Italy always target the game against us as a big one for them, so I think they'll be coming out all guns blazing and they're always a threat.
"We're scoring points, we're scoring tries and we're putting teams under a lot of pressure when we've got the ball.
"We're not conceding too many line-breaks and our defence is still pretty strong. For us there is a huge amount of confidence to come out of games and it's just putting it all together and cutting out the mistakes."
“Italy have had a tough championship. They’re better than their results have shown." Scotland Assistant Coach, Mike Blair
Scotland Assistant Coach, Mike Blair on the match against Italy this weekend:
“We’ve build up an expectation of the level of game we want to play, and we didn’t reach that.
“We talked in the last Guinness Six Nations about becoming a team that was hard to beat. But we’ve moved on from that. You can see that by winning at Twickenham, and two close games at home, now that’s not enough.
“We’ve moved up a level and it’s not enough to say we’re close and in the game. That was Scotland teams before. This is a talented group of players and we know if we can play the best of our ability we can beat England away and Wales or Ireland at home.
“Italy have had a tough championship. They’re better than their results have shown.
“Teams have had golden patches against them and been able to pressurise them over 10 to 15 minute periods. They seem to struggle to come back from those.
“That means the start of the game and the pressure we’re able to put on them is really important.”
Grant Gilchrist on the challenge Italy will pose:
"Italy are playing a lot of rugby, playing at high-tempo and moving the ball about a lot, so we expect to have to defend really well and reset quickly.
"They'll run the ball from pretty much anywhere, which is a big difference from Ireland and our defence is going to have to adapt to that speed and the off-loading game they're looking to play.
"As players we always take it hard when we lose, but when we look at the game back we scored three tries and did some good things. We are disappointed with the performance as we know we can be a lot better and we\'ll have to be a lot better this weekend, but there are things that we can build on and things we want to put right this weekend."
Sam Johnson on how they're expecting Italy to play:
"There has been a huge emphasis over the last few days on our recovery due to the shorter turnaround this week. It was a physical game against Ireland.
"We go again this week and we've got a huge challenge ahead against Italy.
"I expect Italy to throw the ball around, they've probably got nothing to lose which makes them dangerous.
"They've got a really big backrow so there will still be plenty of physicality out there, but probably the main difference is that they're going to throw the ball around."
The Scotland team to play Italy will be named on Thursday afternoon. Keep an eye on scottishrugby.org and the Scottish Rugby social channels to get the team first.
- Scotland have won their last five Six Nations games against Italy, the previous 10 Championship clashes between the sides had seen them share five wins apiece.
- Scotland have the best tackle success rate (92%) of any side in the 2021 Six Nations.
- Hamish Watson (44) and Jonny Gray (39) are yet to miss a tackle in the 2021 Six Nations, no one else has made more than 30 tackles without missing at least one, Watson also didn’t miss a tackle in 2020 (73); in fact he has made 133 consecutive tackles in a row in the tournament without missing one, the second longest such run in Six Nations history (Lionel Nallet 154).
- Of the 50 players to hit 50+ rucks in the 2021 Six Nations, Italy’s Juan Ignacio Brex has been the most effective, making an effective contribution at 81% of the 53 rucks he has hit.
- Sebastian Negri (Italy) has made 127 post-contact metres in the 2021 Six Nations, the most of any forward in the Championship, Hamish Watson has the best tally for a Scotland forward (64m, 10thbest forward overall).
- Scotland duo Duhan van der Merwe (16) and Stuart Hogg (15) have beaten more defenders than anyone else in the 2021 Six Nations.
Meet our Mascots
This weekend we will have the support of our four Dove Men+Care virtual mascots as they cheer on the team and join in with the anthem from home as Scotland face Italy on Saturday afternoon at BT Murrayfield in Round 5 of the Guinness Six Nations, kick off 2.15pm. Read more HERE.
Watch and follow the game
Join us on Saturday in the Scottish Rugby Match Centre, supported by The Royal Bank of Scotland.
We’ll be joined by Scotland fly-half Duncan Weir, who will offer exclusive insight before, during and after the match.
As always we'll bring you the big moments as they happen, along with the latest from inside the Scotland camp.
Join us for the match build-up on Saturday at scottishrugby.org.
Scotland v Italy kicks off off at 2.15pm GMT and you can watch the game live on BBC One in the UK.